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What's New? Hello Kitty Gets Blue

In what it is billing as a co-licensing first for the company, Nickelodeon's consumer products arm has struck a deal with Japanese licensing company Sanrio (the Hello Kitty line), to bring a wide-ranging combination Blues Clues/Hello Kitty brand to Japan.

The tweens- and teens-targeted product lines-- which will include toys, clothes, home furnishings, stationery, accessories, consumer electronics, party supplies, and sporting goods-- rolls out in summer 2007 and will meld the dog from Blues Clues into the Hello Kitty world.

The move follows the multi-year deal struck last summer between Nickelodeon and Viacom Consumer Products and Sanrio to bring products based on SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, and adult show South Park to Japan, where adult cartoons are something of an art form.

SpongeBob merchandise launched there in January 2006 and has brought in $20 million in retails sales so far, according to Viacom.